Welcome to Brunette à Bicyclettea collection of thoughts, photos, and videos; my digital scrapbook of the people and places I’ve come to love, wherever I happen to be (currently, that’s Washington, DC).
Get blog updates
Category Archives: USA
The U.S. Postal Service has been in the forefront of the 24-hour news cycle lately, or at least that’s how things look from the non-stop-CNN-barrage that is my office kitchen. While I think I can learn to live in a world where I have to wait until Monday for a package transported over the weekend, the prospect of canceling Saturday deliveries seems to have provoked a bit of a panic (will they or won’t they?!?). I don’t propose to know the ultimate fate of mail delivery in the digital age, but a part of me that remains somewhat resistant to change understands the protectionist response. Getting a letter or card — that someone took the time to write, slip into an envelope and post — tops an email any day. I look forward to holiday cards from my mother (she even sends them for Halloween and Thanksgiving) and letters from friends who vehemently keep to the pen-to-paper correspondance. I just received a card from my grandmother and it made my day.
For all of these reasons, I’ve been pestering Z to go with me to visit the National Postal Museum, and he finally relented. Regular readers will already know that I love exploring quirky museums and monuments – little depositories that zoom in on one industry, hobby, person or anything someone out there had enough interest in to create a space dedicated to its memory. This one in particular, devoted to mail and the postal service, appeals to that little
geek girl in me that watched with rapt curiosity as Mr. Rogers explained where crayons come from.
Buds are appearing on branches here as little bulbs timidly peek out of the ground. As though to remind us that we’re still days away from the first day of spring, we plunged back into a cold spell. I reluctantly reached for my down jacket and gloves as we headed out to the farmers market. However impatient I am for spring, the cold weather gave me the perfect excuse to go explore a little place in neighborhood that has intrigued me for a while. Continue reading
Started by a homebrewer and the former beer director at the Big Hunt, 3 Stars Brewing Company is the latest addition to the growing number of craft breweries popping up in the District. Their facilities in Takoma are open Saturdays for tours, bottle sales and growler fills. However, when you pull up to this warehouse-turned-brewery, you’ll also see people leaving with plastic tubing and bags of hops underarm. 3 Stars has held onto its roots and their homebrew shop — the only one in DC — sells just about anything you’d need to start making your very own batches. (I’ll leave the brewing to the experts, but to each their own.) Continue reading
Is there anything better than freshly-baked bread? A warm baguette fresh from the oven on a chilly evening in Paris never made it home without the crouton. Warm and soft, delicious on its own but a little nob of buter wouldn’t be unwelcome either. Even the smell of freshly baked bread apparently makes us nicer people. Bagels, pitas, even the humble dinner roll are exponentially better the sooner they get to you from that hot oven. Here in the District, our bread experience has been a little underwhelming, that is, until we found the Pretzel Bakery (340 15th Street SE, 20003). Continue reading
Don’t let it’s less-than-photogenic appearance dissuade you. This stuff is seriously good. Tomatoes aren’t something I generally associate with Vietnamese food, but now I’ve officially given up on trying to pin down this cuisine. What do I know? Continue reading
My mother and I are kindred spirits. When I come back to California for a visit, she always has a new restaurant or cafe she wants to try. In addition to the running list I know she has in her head, she usually has some newspaper and magazine clippings and reviews set aside, waiting for the first excuse to try them out. I understand the urge sine I too have these lists, and I am always happy to oblige. Cut from the same cloth, she and I.
This week, she suggested a “new fish place” she’d heard about. We’ve been disappointed by new openings in this area in the past, including a deafeningly loud wine bar whose ingredients needed a serious quality boost. But Slapfish (19696 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, CA 92648. Open daily.) is nothing of the sort, and an example of what I hope is a growing trend toward fresh, considered, sustainable eating in Orange County. Continue reading
Although moving around so much makes it difficult to keep collections of any sort, Z and I still both have our weaknesses. He’s a big vinyl fan with an ever-growing collection, a hobby I’m grateful to benefit from. Thanks to him, there’s always good music in the house. I on the other hand have a particular weakness for antique shops and used bookstores, especially those with large sections devoted to cookbooks and cookware. I can get away with poking around in these places for hours if there’s a record section. We make it work, you see? Continue reading
Z had to work over the weekend, so I found myself out on a walk in the crisp fall air with an afternoon to myself. Just as I got to Lincoln Park, a sign stopped me in my tracks.
Even though we’ve been here since mid-August, our apartment remains in flux — a sort of holding pattern that’s lasted much longer than we originally anticipated. Recouping pieces scattered across the country after an international move, waiting for a coat of paint here, and hunting down that perfect, reasonably priced thing for that spot over there. Although I’m resigned to the fact that there will always be something on the apartment ‘To Do’ list, I think Z and I are both ready to get to a point where it feels like home.
Furnishing an apartment on a budget is tough, especially if you don’t want it exclusively populated with things that come flat-packed. Vintage and second-hand stores are good alternatives, but the DC area is pretty short on them. There are a few – Ms. Pixie’s (1626 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009) is a personal favorite – but for the most part they’re either picked-over or outrageously overpriced. Unlike DC, the Atlanta metro area has a wealth of great vintage and antique stores for just about any price point. I’m fairly certain my patience for picking through these places exceeds that of the rest of my family, but they and Z very kindly indulge me on our visits. Continue reading
As I write this I’m listening to the sound of thunder roll through our patio doors on a warm evening. I keep thinking that this might be the last of these storms, one of my favorite things about summer. The air gets thicker and heavier until a loud clap and a cool exhale start the brief respite from the relentless, sticky heat. But, the air is getting crisper, I’ve been eyeing my coats and boots, a pair of beautiful carnival squash showed up in our CSA, and I’ve got to face facts. Fall is here. And ushering in these “R” months means one thing — oysters! Continue reading